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DfE's Reading Framework summary and how Reading Plus helps

What is The Reading Framework?

In July 2023, the Department for Education published the latest Reading Framework to help schools meet their expectations and ensure pupils become proficient readers.

The Reading Framework consists of invaluable research, evidence, advice, and audit materials to help educators assess their current practice and determine the best methods to enhance their teaching.

Reading Solutions UK understand the demanding time constraints of a teacher’s workload. Therefore, we have summarised the nearly 200-page document below and provided some easy solutions.

What has changed in the new Reading Framework?

The 2023 framework is an extension of the framework first published in 2021, which solely focused on EYFS and KS1. The new framework has been updated to include pupils up to Year 9 with the key objective:

“to help primary schools to make sure that their pupils start secondary school as confident and engaged readers, and to help secondary schools to teach any pupils who are not.”

July 2023 updates include:

  • Developing fluency (section 4)
  • Pupils who need the most support (section 5)
  • What skilled readers can do (section 6)
  • Organising and promoting books (section 7)
  • Developing a reading for pleasure culture (section 8)
  • Reading across the curriculum (section 9)
  • Teaching reading in the English lesson (section 10)
  • National assessments (section 11)
  • Leadership and management of reading (section 12)
  • Supporting pupils’ reading in key stage 3 (section 13)

Read below to explore the framework with a focus on the updates that our knowledge, expertise, and online reading development programme, Reading Plus, can best support.

Developing fluency, p.60

Fluency is what allows us to understand what we read.

Fluency is essential for comprehension and the ability to access texts that will expand pupils’ vocabulary – all of which are necessary for becoming proficient readers. Once a reader has gained the fluency skills of accuracy and automaticity in word reading, pupils can focus on lifting the meaning from the page, connecting the words and sentences and making connections across the text.

Weak fluency negatively impacts pupils’ educational attainment, as explored in Year 4 pupil Harry’s journey.

He cannot read many words ‘at a glance’ and, therefore, finds it difficult to access new information. He talks knowledgeably and enthusiastically about his interests but lacks sufficient vocabulary and background knowledge to understand the stories his teacher reads.

Being unable to read prevents him from joining in fully with most lessons, and he becomes withdrawn. While teachers attempt to make learning accessible for him, Harry’s learning will only improve when he can read well.


  • “As pupils gain fluency, their motivation increases: they start to enjoy reading more and are willing to do more of it.”
    The Reading Framework

Pupils who need the most support, p.66

Pupils who need the most support should be identified as soon as they begin to fall behind so relevant interventions can be introduced to ensure they can keep up. Individual records of progress, therefore, are essential. Standardised testing is limited in achieving this as it only offers approximate indications – the framework suggests a diagnostic programme’s assessment to pinpoint exactly where pupils need support.

The importance of fluency is highlighted again in the case study of Amina, a Year 4 pupil who loves listening to and talking about stories but never chooses to read on her own.

The number of words she reads ‘at a glance’ is too low to allow her to read with sufficient fluency to pay attention to and understand what she is reading.

Amina’s next steps are reading lively, well-written, decodable books and support to develop her fluency.

What skilled readers can do, p.81

The framework explains the automatic, effortless skills that happen unconsciously for fluent adult readers, such as gathering and processing visual information and understanding the text’s meaning, implications, and nuances.

These skills are explored in accomplished and experienced nine-year-old reader Jamal to demonstrate what young, skilled readers can do and how this is achieved.

Reading for pleasure was instilled into him from a young age by his parents and teachers. By eight, he had become a skilled reader.

Jamal reads because he is intrigued by stories, wants to know what happens next, and is curious about the world. Each time he reads, new knowledge connects with what he already knows.

The more he knows, the less he struggles to process new information or vocabulary, freeing his attention to learning more. These skills allow Jamal to enjoy reading, read silently, and meet the challenges of reading increasingly complex texts across the KS3 curriculum with perseverance and stamina.

  • “For readers like Jamal, these three strands of reading – being able to read, choosing to read and spending time reading – reinforce one another, forming a virtuous circle.”
    The Reading Framework

Developing a reading for pleasure culture, p.91

As seen in Jamal and Harry’s reading journeys, reading for pleasure is integral to a child’s reading growth. Pupils must be enthusiastic about reading to learn and be able to read fluently to enjoy reading.

Teachers need to ensure that every pupil can read at a speed that allows them to enjoy and understand the books they want to read for themselves.

The framework acknowledges that teachers cannot force children to enjoy reading. However, it explores the factors that can impact this, including:

  • Embedding a school culture that supports reading for pleasure.
  • Acknowledging pupils’ developing interests and changing habits.
  • Partaking in ‘book talk’ or ‘book club’ where teachers can promote books and pupils can make recommendations to each other.
  • Providing focused time to read regularly.
  • Allowing children to choose to read texts that interest them.

Supporting pupils’ reading in key stage 3, p.130

The most important task during the transition from KS2 to KS3 is to identify the pupils whose reading is poor and, therefore, have negative attitudes towards school.

Pupils’ success depends upon learning academic vocabulary – which depends on their ability to decode and understand this new vocabulary rapidly.

Year 7 pupil Mia did not receive the support she needed in Key Stage 2. Therefore, the gap between her and her peers grows wider.

She is now faced with a huge amount of reading in every lesson – history, French, biology, and English. Mia cannot succeed because learning academic vocabulary depends on the ability to decode new words rapidly – an ability Mia never learned.

Her motivation to learn and attitude towards school are at the lowest possible level. To succeed in school, Mia needs help developing her fluency skills, including decoding unfamiliar words.


Other framework updates include added guidance on the following:

Organising and promoting books

Pupils should be encouraged to read various genres at levels that challenge and progress their reading, as well as high-interest content at an easy reading level (Hi-lo books).

Pupils should also be exposed to texts that support subjects across the curriculum, such as history, geography, and science.

Reading across the curriculum

Reading successfully in any subject relies on the ability to read accurately and fluently so that focus can be directed to absorbing new knowledge from texts.

Teaching reading in the English lesson

Pupils should be taught with books that allow them to think deeply about rich and challenging texts containing characters and situations relating to and different to them – expanding their view of the world.

National assessments

This section details the official reading assessments that pupils sit up to the KS2 English reading test, which focuses on comprehension.

Leadership and management of reading

It is the responsibility of all staff members, not simply English teachers, to ensure that reading is promoted to every pupil.


How can Reading Plus help implement the Reading Framework?

Reading Plus is an adaptive online reading development programme designed to improve pupils’ reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary in KS2 to GCSE and beyond.

Reading Plus’s research-based, patented technology is designed to achieve many of the objectives set out within the framework.

Pupils begin their Reading Plus journey with an adaptive assessment (InSight), which provides a data-driven baseline. The results accurately identify pupils’ strengths and learning gaps, which place them on a personalised, ability-matched reading journey.

Pupils complete comprehension questions as they progress through the programme to deepen their understanding of texts and are used to create individual reports of progress from the initial InSight Assessment.

Reading Plus is the only adaptive literacy tool that addresses the hidden hurdle of inefficient silent reading. The Reading Plus Guided Window tool guides the reader’s eyes across a page of text at a bespoke speed, improving their silent reading fluency and reading speed.

Pupils have access to a vast library of over 1,200 diverse fiction and non-fiction mirror and window texts to self-select. Through these high-lo and challenging texts, Reading Plus supports the development of pupils’ reading skills, encourages reading for pleasure, and offers cross-curricular knowledge.

Furthermore, behind the Reading Plus programme is a team of dedicated professionals passionate about making a difference in young people’s outcomes. They support Reading Plus by developing initiatives to encourage reading for pleasure and reading motivation.

  • “We believe the programme’s most positive impact on students was the progress and gains in reading fluency. By using Reading Plus, we feel that students who transition into KS4 are better prepared in their increased fluency and the range of texts they can access.”
    Andrea Creegan, Curriculum Lead of English at Farringdon Community Academy.


Are you looking to adopt the advice of the Department for Education’s Reading Framework in your school?

To find out more about Reading Plus, book a call below!



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